De Palma (7/10)
by Tony Medley
Runtime 111 minutes
Not for children.
If you ever wonder
why movies are too long, listen to a director talk about himself for
almost two hours, which is what you do in this documentary about
filmmaker Brian De Palma. His is the only voice you hear and it is a one
shot of him talking about himself for almost half the movie.
Oh, there are clips
of his films, but nobody is interviewed; nobody tells what it was like
to be directed by him; nobody tells what it was like to collaborate with
him. This is Brian De Palma on Brian De Palma. His 20 best-known films
average just under two hours, like this film. Cut it by a half hour and
youíd have enough.
What he says is
pretty interesting because he tells somewhat of what itís like to put a
film together and explains some of the conflicts. Also shown are some of
his more gory scenes. He claims to be the only person who follows in the
footsteps of Alfred Hitchcock, but Hitch never showed graphic violence,
always leaving it to the viewersí imagination. Even the classic shower
scene where Janet Leigh gets knifed in Psycho, Hitch never shows
the knife entering the body.
Thatís what De Palma
doesnít get. And itís what most of todayís shock directors donít get.
Movies are a medium of imagination. The less you actually see and the
more you actually think, the better. Seeing intercourse doesnít make a
movie sexier. Itís what you imagine they are doing or are about to do,
or just did, that make a movie fascinating. The same is true for
violence. Talented directors donít show the actual damage thatís being
done; they leave it to the imagination.
De Palma shows
everything in raw detail (except the chain saw scene in Scarface,
where he never shows the saw cutting skin).